Planning for arrival in Tuscany begins. .Plus, tomorrow's a big day...


Tomorrow, we'll be gone the entire day visiting many exciting places of interest in Dubai. Of course, the cameras will be clicking hopefully getting great shots of the sights this unique area has to offer.  Please check back on Tuesday when we'll post the story and photos of our private day trip with our cab driver Umer, as we travel in air conditioned comfort in a newer SUV.

How far ahead we plan our means of transportation from ships and airports to vacation homes is determined by several factors; the availability of transportation to our final destination, the accessibility to the location, the likelihood of a string of cabs ready to transport passengers, the time of day of our arrival and...the urgency of our desire for peace of mind.

In our case, peace of mind is at the top of the list.  Tom, worrier than he can be, finds comfort in planning well in advance with directions and a map in hand. I'm perfectly comfortable planning a few weeks in advance, rationalizing that "last minute deals" might be the way to go.  However, my ultimate goal is to keep Tom from worrying and get us to our location with the least amount of stress. 

Our plans are set to get us to the airport in Dubai next Monday for our flight to Barcelona, where again we'll stay for one night at the Hotel Grums. The next morning, we'll grab a cab to  take us to the port of Barcelona to board our eighth cruise since January 3, 2013 on a 12 day trip though the Mediterranean with almost daily stops in amazing ports.  (This will be our last cruise in 2013, with our next cruises scheduled in 2014 as we work our way toward Hawaii to meet up with our kids for the holidays).

On June 16th, we'll disembark the Norwegian Spirit (hope we like it!) in Venice Italy, where we'll have spent two days perusing this romantic city. 

The challenge: finding our way from Venice to our renovated 17th century stone farmhouse in Tuscany, where we'll spend the summer, a three plus hour car ride.  After the summer in Tuscany, we'll be flying to Mombasa Kenya, a long flight away.

Over a years ago when planning this leg of our journey, we accepted the reality that a rental car for the entire two and a half months is vital allowing us to take day excursions to visit other parts of Italy from this convenient location. 

With no nearby grocery stores and few restaurants, there is no way we are willing to feel trapped for the entire summer.  The cost of renting a car, however small or economic, is outrageous.  People have said "Oh, I went to Italy and rented a car for $350 a week."  Well, let's do the math.  We'll be there for 10 weeks.  We budgeted this expense, having checked on the pricing over a year ago.

Contemplating numerous options, we've come to the most stress free solution to accomplish our goals:  When our ship disembarks at the port in Venice, we'll take a cab to Marco Polo Airport, a mere four miles, to pick up our awaiting rental car and drive ourselves to our awaiting property in Tuscany.

When we're ready to fly to Kenya, we'll drive the rental car back to Venice (it appears most flights to Mombasa depart later in the day), drop it off at the airport and off we go to our awaiting flight.

Other option we'd considered; take a train to Tuscany from Venice to eventually rent a car in Florence but then we'd have to get to a bigger airport to fly to Kenya.  Driving back to Venice is our easiest, least costly, stress reducing option.

Today, we rented the car.  We've heard horrible stories about renting cars in Italy.  Good grief.  If you go online you can find horrible stories about everything we've done so far.  Refusing to spoil our experiences with needless speculation about "what ifs, would haves and could haves" is pointless sucking the life out of a potentially great opportunity.

As we know, things do go wrong.  After all, I'm still sitting here with major sinus problems leftover from that annoying ship borne illness.  After all, we're practically trapped in our condo from construction at every turn, making walking outdoors nearly impossible. 

After all is said and done, its all going to be OK, as we continue to have the times of our lives, living on the roads, the seas, the skies, the mountains, the valleys, the canals, the deserts, and on and on.

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